Top U.S. Spy Concerned over Obama’s Drastic Budget Cuts
by Jim Kouri
Clash Daily Guest Contributor
A top U.S. spy in a report on Monday claimed that the sequestration will eventually lead to the same conditions that existed during the Clinton Administration when, in order to balance the budget without touching politically-protected entitlements, U.S. military branches and intelligence agencies were significantly reduced.
James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, warned reporters that federal budget cuts that are blamed on the sequestration will harm U.S. national security that won't be noticed until an attack occurs.
Furloughs for intelligence personnel are being pondered, but so far appear to be an action to be taken as a last resort, say intelligence experts such as Mike Snopes.
“We’re cutting real capability and accepting greater risk,” Clapper told reporters in his office. “For intelligence, this is not quite like shorter hours for public parks or longer lines at the airports. For intelligence, it’s insidious. The capability we cut out today you won’t know about that, you won’t notice it,” he said. “The public won’t notice it. You’ll notice it only when we have a failure.”
Clapper said he could give no details on how America's intelligence capabilities will be cut. “I’ve seen this movie before,” he said, referring to intelligence cuts in the 1990's when he ran the Defense Intelligence Agency.
Clapper admitted that the Clinton administration drastically cut human intelligence resources such as closing overseas Central Intelligence Agency bureaus and stations. The basic plan of action was to rely more on technology such as satellites, cyber-surveillance and other advanced technology.
“We cut human intelligence, we let our overhead reconnaissance architecture atrophy. We neglected the basics like power space and cooling … and most painfully we allowed the workforce to be distorted,” said Clapper.
Then came the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and intelligence budgets grew. But now, “we’re in another cut cycle,” he said.
Clapper emphasized the importance of maintaining an intelligence workforce that is an important part of homeland security.
“It is a uniform conviction across the leadership of the intelligence community that the most important resource we have is our people,” Clapper said. “So I’m going to try to do all I can, all of us are, to protect our people. If we have to furlough, then minimize the damage and the impact of doing that. All that hasn’t been worked out.”
Image: Current Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper (left); source:United States Army; author: Petty Officer 2nd Class Steven L. Shepard, USN, Presidio of Monterey Public Affairs Office; public domain